HC Deb 23 January 1990 vol 165 c676W
120. Mr. Irvine

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners there are in the National Health Service now; and how many there were in 1979.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

At 1 October 1988 (the latest year for which figures are available) there were 25,322 unrestricted general medical practitioners in England compared with 21,357 at 1 October 1979—an increase of 18.6 per cent.

Mr. Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for how many days general practitioners on duty over a weekend will be expected to work continuously under the new contract for general practitioners.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

There are no specific requirements in the GPs' new contract for weekend duties or for working continuously. The responsibility placed upon GPs by regulations to provide all necessary and appropriate personal medical services for their patients on a 24 hours a day basis remains unchanged. Existing arrangements for delegating this responsibility also remain unchanged. The new requirement introduced by the National Health Service (General Medical and Pharmaceutical Services) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 1989 is that GPs who are full time will be required to be available for surgery consultation and home visits for a minimum of 26 hours a week over five days at times convenient to their patients.